It's completely disheartening that in 2016 there are still wild misconceptions about rape floating about. It's even more upsetting when the majority of these false ideas come from the mouths of people in power — people who are in charge of creating and upholding laws that directly impact rape victims.
Join us on a trip down the worst memory lane ever as we take a look at the most outrageous comments said about rape by politicians and those in power.
Rep. Pete Nielsen (R-Idaho): The most recent case of foot-in-mouth disease comes from Rep. Pete Nielsen from Idaho. The senator suggested that you can't get pregnant from rape because it's a traumatic incident. While I want to give him points for acknowledging the trauma aspect of rape, he loses all the points when he then states something that is not backed up by science and, actually, is very, very, very wrong. Yes, you actually can get pregnant from rape, and the idea that you can't is a dangerous one.
Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo): We probably have Rep. Todd Akin to "thank" for all the folks coming out of the woodwork to say stupid, false things about rape and pregnancy. Back in 2012, Akin made waves for saying that "legitimate rape" had ways to "shut that whole thing down" (meaning pregnancy). We have no idea where either gentleman received sex ed, but clearly they failed big time. Rape can result in a pregnancy, in case that's still not clear. And no, the female body does not have any way of shutting that down.
Texas State Rep. Jodie Laubenberg: Rep. Laubenberg spread a whole host of false information while trying to get an anti-abortion bill passed in Texas in 2013. Explaining why abortions aren't necessary in cases of rape, Laubenberg (incorrectly) stated, "In the emergency room, they have what’s called rape kits, where a woman can get cleaned out." Yeah, that's not what happens at all. If a person goes to an emergency room after being raped, they can request a rape kit; however, it does not "clean out" the person, but will collect any possible DNA that might remain.
New Mexico State Rep. Cathrynn Brown: This Republican state representative deserves all the credit for coming up with one of the worst things we've heard about rape in a long time. In 2013, she introduced a new bill to the New Mexican state Senate that would make getting abortion following a rape illegal because it would be considered "tampering with evidence." You read that right. This politician hates the idea of abortion so much that she was willing to make it illegal after rape on the grounds that it would be considered tampering with evidence. So not only could you be subjected to rape, but any sort of follow-up care could actually land you in jail. What a country. Thankfully, despite it being introduced in 2013, nothing has actually happened with it since then.
Judge G. Todd Baugh: Lest you worry that politicians are the only ones making horribly inaccurate claims about rape, rest assured that others in power are also saying the worst things ever. This district judge from Montana presided over a case where a high school teacher admitted to raping a 14-year-old student (who later committed suicide). The teacher was sentenced to 15 years in prison but had to serve only 30 days. In his remarks, Baugh said the student was "as much in control of the situation" as her teacher was and that she was "older than her chronological age." Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. While the judge eventually apologized for his remarks, what he said is truly reprehensible.
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